Pathway for Carers: No-one can do it alone
This project is an evaluation of the Pathways for Carers program which began in 2015 in response to a need for carers to learn more about news, services and supports available in their community. The Pathways for Carers is an evolving community development initiative that aims to improve the health and wellbeing of carers within the City of Maroondah and four additional local government areas. Pathways for Carers combines the physical and mental health benefits of social group walking, with the direct delivery of targeted messages from providers on an informal platform.
Conclusions and Recommendations
The essence of the Pathways for Carers – the simple walk in nature - should be preserved as it provides a supportive environment for carers to connect with each other. Not only are the walks supportive they are an important avenue for the Carer to be able to access support and services to assist them in their lives. Although the program requires limited funding to operate successfully, sponsorship of the morning teas on an ongoing basis is important in terms of celebrating and valuing the carers and guests on the walk.
The support of Maroondah City Council and the staff it provides to enhance the experience of carers is a vital element attributing to the success of the program. The Lead Carers on the walks provide support to the carers present as well as organising the guest speakers for the walks. To ensure continuity, potential Lead Carers should be identified and trained to step into the role. An ongoing carer support agency is important, not only for continuity but being available to support a carer if they become distressed.
A number of carers expressed interest in an online support group so as to extend the connections between the carers. This may also encourage carers who have been reluctant to join the walks.
The following recommendations are suggested for the Pathways for Carers program:
- Ongoing sponsorship is recommended for morning teas for the program
- The support of Maroondah City Council and the staff it provides to enhance the experience of carers is a vital element attributing to the success of the program.
- Train backup Lead Carers to ensure continuity of the program
- An online carer support group to connect carers as well as those carers who are reluctant to join a walk.
- Ensure that an on-going presence of a carer support agency is available for all walks to offer advice and be available if a carer becomes distressed.